||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2010)|
|Family Guy character|
|First appearance||"Death Has a Shadow"|
|Created by||Seth MacFarlane|
|Voiced by||Seth Green|
|Full name||Christopher Cross Griffin|
Christopher Cross "Chris" Griffin is a character from the animated television series Family Guy. He is the elder son and middle child of Peter and Lois Griffin, brother of Stewie and Meg Griffin. Chris is voiced by Seth Green. Originally designed as a rebellious teenager, Chris' personality on the show has evolved to unhygienic and mentally immature. Running gags involving Chris in the series include the existence of an 'Evil Monkey' in his closet (though it is later revealed that the monkey is not evil), and his pedophile admirer Herbert.
Chris' character resembles Milt, the son of the main character Larry Cummings in The Life of Larry, one of the animated short films created by Seth MacFarlane at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995 that led to the development of Family Guy. Chris was originally given a "punk" image, according to creator Seth MacFarlane's DVD commentary tracks. He wore earrings during the first three seasons, and his painful awkwardness was not as emphasized as it is later in the series.
Chris' voice was based on Ted Levine's performance as Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb in The Silence of the Lambs. Green admittedly did an impression of the character during his audition for the role of Chris. His main inspiration for Chris' voice came from envisioning how "Buffalo Bill" would sound if he were speaking through a PA system at a McDonalds. In the episode "Stew-Roids", Chris re-enacts a scene from the movie where Buffalo Bill dances nude in front of a mirror, albeit after tucking his penis in between his legs.
Chris deals with the problems that most pubescent boys face: acne, girls, and school. Chris has been known to feel self-conscious about himself, especially his weight. In fact, on the Volume 1 DVD Boxset TV guides special Family Guy edition, it stated that Chris "wouldn't hurt a fly, unless it landed on his hot dog". Due to Chris' weight, he was referred to as an "Elephant Child" when he was born. Chris is also willing to do something as drastic as to convert to Judaism in order to do better in school, specifically math. He once believed his low grades in mathematics were caused when he tickled his brain by sticking an army man's rifle into his nose and (presumably) accidentally puncturing a lobe. Chris enjoys drawing and once almost became a famous artist in New York.
Chris also has an apparent physical attraction to his mother, Lois, which was noted in the commentary of Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, near the end of the movie Peter comments about "The incest episode". It is also seen in "E. Peterbus Unum" (where he hands Meg a note that reads "I think Mrs. Griffin is hot") and in "Model Misbehavior" (where he says that he will masturbate to pictures of her). Chris, like his father, is obese, has a low IQ and no common sense. While Chris' low intelligence level is often viewed as a heredity commonality with his father, it is mentioned in the episode "Peter's Daughter," that Lois abusing alcohol and smoking while pregnant with Chris and "chickening out half-way through" a clandestine abortion could also be a cause. Also, various story lines portrayed Chris as being well-endowed, upsetting Peter and has given him savant talents, such as artistic ability, and detailed knowledge of film and TV actors. Both he and Peter have also demonstrated proficiency in the use of American Sign Language. He has also demonstrated an ability to quickly adapt to new cultural surroundings. For example, when the family moved to London in "Patriot Games", Chris was the only member of the family who was able to quickly learn and speak cockney English.
Chris has a turbulent brother-sister relationship with his sister Meg. Like his father Peter, Chris is normally disrespecting and abusive of Meg, often going to great lengths to bully her. However, they have often shown to get along and join forces on certain occasions, despite their general sibling rivalry.
Chris is usually depicted as naive to the point of blamelessness. However, when Peter and Lois were having a fist fight, Chris cheered for Peter, telling him to "kick her ass!"; earlier in the episode, after Chris breaks something and Lois tells Peter to punish Chris, Peter tells Chris to "punish himself" and subsequently spanks himself. Also, in Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, when the children watch Lois and Peter are trying to make out, Chris mistakes it for a fight and says, "I don't know what they're fighting about, but I think Dad's winning. Go Dad!" In the episode "Trading Places", after Chris accidentally damages Peter's dirt bike, Peter "punishes" Chris by making him start smoking.
Seth Green described Chris as "completely socially awkward", "very easily satisfied and highly distractible [.....] a simple, strong boy."
During the first half of the series while still being unpopular, Chris was shown to be the more popular at school than Meg, having countless friends including several girls and tending to mention having friends more often than Meg, though rarely being seen with them. However as the series progressed and Meg became more often seen with her group of friends, Chris' social status was stripped to the point of him being seemingly less socially accepted and rarely mentioning to have friends.[episode needed] Although in Stew-Roids, a popular girl dates Chris, at first to be more popular because of "dating a loser", but begins to like Chris after he says he really likes her. Later in the episode, she dumps him, because he made out with two girls at a party.
In a running gag, starting in the episode "Dammit Janet!," Chris is regularly tormented by an evil monkey who lives in his closet, though whenever he complains about it to anyone, they don't believe him (a reference to the iconic tale of the Boy Who Cried Wolf) and often laugh him off instead, after which the monkey appears with a malevolent grimace and points at Chris in a threatening manner. However, in "Hannah Banana", Chris finally manages to prove the monkey's part in the show to the family, and even ends up becoming friends with him after the monkey (who appears not to be evil at all, but just a poor creature who was depressed after his wife cheated with another monkey) helps him write out a book report and pass. The simian explains his frightening mannerisms as a result of various conditions and unintended actions. They hang out with each other in fun places, and the monkey helps Chris in his studies in school, which Peter does not do. This, however, causes a rift between Chris and Peter when Chris realizes that the monkey cares more for him than his father. Eventually the monkey helps the two patch things up, especially after Peter saves the monkey from Miley Cyrus (who is depicted as an android) who had kidnapped him à la King Kong. After that, the monkey happily moves out of Chris' closet to live in the closet of Tom Tucker's son Jake, where the cycle will start in a new beginning, as Jake himself experiences difficulty with his father.
In a 2003 interview, Seth MacFarlane stated that the writers thought it would be funny to give Chris a childhood fear that is actually real, since he has "a childlike mind". The monkey's trademark grimace and pointing was the idea of writer Mike Barker.
Identification with Seth Green
Another running gag, starting in the Star Wars remake episode "Blue Harvest", has Chris defending Robot Chicken, a show created by portrayer Seth Green which is broadcast on the Adult Swim block on the Cartoon Network cable network. When Peter (Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane) denigrates that show in "Blue Harvest", Chris loses his temper and storms off. Carried on in "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side", though Chris attempts to keep a cool head, he storms off again when Peter offers to tell the story of Without a Paddle, a critically panned film that features Seth Green. Both these scenes happen in the framing device of the episode and not in the interior Star Wars narrative, in which Green portrays Chris as Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker. In the final Star Wars parody, "It's a Trap!", mocking Green's career provokes further anger in Chris; Chris tries to defend Green by citing Buffy the Vampire Slayer as an example of a success in Green's career, but Carter Pewterschmidt suggests that the popularity of Buffy had been largely over-stated by Entertainment Weekly. These taunts give Chris—in character as Skywalker—the conviction to fight back against Stewie/Darth Vader and Carter/Darth Sidious (both played by MacFarlane). In the closing scenes of the episode's framing device, Chris gets to reverse the joke by poking fun at Seth MacFarlane's career, going so far as to suggest that Family Guy is a rip-off of The Simpsons; MacFarlane is, however, defended by the characters whom he voices (Peter, Brian and Stewie).
Outside of the Star Wars-themed episodes, "Road to the Multiverse" plays on the running gag, but with Stewie (MacFarlane once more) provoking the Robot Chicken Universe counterpart of Chris by asking "How does it feel to be on a major network for thirty seconds?" which prompts Chris to say "fuck you!".
- "Fans help 'Family Guy' return to Fox". Observer-Reporter. April 29, 2005. p. E5.
- Green, Seth (September 27, 2005). Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story: Audio Commentary (DVD).
- "Interview with Seth Green". Fancast News. 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- "Seth MacFarlane Interview". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 2003-04-21. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- Chris Griffin at Fox.com